Georges Bizet (1838-1875)

Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
Comments
01Carmen And Back To The Beginning20120312

Donald Macleod traces Bizet's musical development back to its roots.

Georges Bizet's Carmen is reputed to have had a disastrous opening night, but as Donald Macleod discovers in today's programme, it wasn't quite as simple as that. Although by the end of that performance the critical reception was negative enough to deeply upset the composer, there were times during the premiere when it seemed as if Carmen would turn out to be the triumph that Bizet had wanted for so long. We trace his musical development back to its roots and hear some of his earliest works, including the Symphony in C, written when Bizet was just 17.

01Carmen And Back To The Beginning20120312

Donald Macleod traces Bizet's musical development back to its roots.

Georges Bizet's Carmen is reputed to have had a disastrous opening night, but as Donald Macleod discovers in today's programme, it wasn't quite as simple as that. Although by the end of that performance the critical reception was negative enough to deeply upset the composer, there were times during the premiere when it seemed as if Carmen would turn out to be the triumph that Bizet had wanted for so long. We trace his musical development back to its roots and hear some of his earliest works, including the Symphony in C, written when Bizet was just 17.

01The Boy From Montmartre20170612

Exploring Bizet's humble origins as the son of a hairdresser and singing teacher.

Despite writing what is possibly the best known opera in the world, Alexandre César Leopold Bizet would seldom enjoy success during his lifetime. (He never even got to use all his given names, but instead was known as 'Georges'!)

A man of multiple love affairs who became devoted to his neurotic wife; a superb pianist who studiously avoided the concert stage; a man for ever associated with Spain, even though he'd never been there - George Bizet is a mass of contradictions. As well as composing what is arguably the world's best known and most popular opera, Bizet also composed some spectacular flops. Always seeking popular as well as critical success, that was the very thing that eluded him during his lifetime. And yet, despite the caustic discouragement of Parisian reviewers, Bizet wrote songs and operas of astonishing beauty, even if the plots and libretti didn't always match the composer's dramatic sense.

Donald Macleod recounts Bizet's humble origins as the son of a hairdresser and self-appointed singing teacher. Entering the Paris Conservatoire, he made rapid progress under Charles Gounod, writing a delightful symphony, and competing for the prestigious Prix de Rome, with the chance to travel to the Eternal City and enjoy the sights and sounds of Italy.

Horowitz
Variations on a Theme from Bizet's opera 'Carmen'
Vladimir Horowitz, piano

Bizet
Symphony in C
Orchestre de Paris
Paavo Järvi, conductor

Le Docteur Miracle (Scene 7, Quartet)
Marie-Bénédicte soprano (Souquet), Laurette Isabelle Druet mezzo (Veronique), Jérôme Billy baritone (Pasquin) and Pierre-Yves Pruvot baritone (Le Padestat)
Orchestre Lyrique de Region Avignon Provence
Samuel Jean, conductor

Clovis et Clotilde
Scene 3 - Prière
Katarina Jovanovic soprano (Clotilde)
Choeur Regional Nord-Pas-de-Calais
Jean-Claude Casadesus, conductor.

01The Boy From Montmartre20170612

Exploring Bizet's humble origins as the son of a hairdresser and singing teacher.

Despite writing what is possibly the best known opera in the world, Alexandre César Leopold Bizet would seldom enjoy success during his lifetime. (He never even got to use all his given names, but instead was known as 'Georges'!)

A man of multiple love affairs who became devoted to his neurotic wife; a superb pianist who studiously avoided the concert stage; a man for ever associated with Spain, even though he'd never been there - George Bizet is a mass of contradictions. As well as composing what is arguably the world's best known and most popular opera, Bizet also composed some spectacular flops. Always seeking popular as well as critical success, that was the very thing that eluded him during his lifetime. And yet, despite the caustic discouragement of Parisian reviewers, Bizet wrote songs and operas of astonishing beauty, even if the plots and libretti didn't always match the composer's dramatic sense.

Donald Macleod recounts Bizet's humble origins as the son of a hairdresser and self-appointed singing teacher. Entering the Paris Conservatoire, he made rapid progress under Charles Gounod, writing a delightful symphony, and competing for the prestigious Prix de Rome, with the chance to travel to the Eternal City and enjoy the sights and sounds of Italy.

Horowitz
Variations on a Theme from Bizet's opera 'Carmen'
Vladimir Horowitz, piano

Bizet
Symphony in C
Orchestre de Paris
Paavo Järvi, conductor

Le Docteur Miracle (Scene 7, Quartet)
Marie-Bénédicte soprano (Souquet), Laurette Isabelle Druet mezzo (Veronique), Jérôme Billy baritone (Pasquin) and Pierre-Yves Pruvot baritone (Le Padestat)
Orchestre Lyrique de Region Avignon Provence
Samuel Jean, conductor

Clovis et Clotilde
Scene 3 - Prière
Katarina Jovanovic soprano (Clotilde)
Choeur Regional Nord-Pas-de-Calais
Jean-Claude Casadesus, conductor.

Exploring Bizet's humble origins as the son of a hairdresser and singing teacher.

Despite writing what is possibly the best known opera in the world, Alexandre César Leopold Bizet would seldom enjoy success during his lifetime. (He never even got to use all his given names, but instead was known as 'Georges'!)

A man of multiple love affairs who became devoted to his neurotic wife; a superb pianist who studiously avoided the concert stage; a man for ever associated with Spain, even though he'd never been there - George Bizet is a mass of contradictions. As well as composing what is arguably the world's best known and most popular opera, Bizet also composed some spectacular flops. Always seeking popular as well as critical success, that was the very thing that eluded him during his lifetime. And yet, despite the caustic discouragement of Parisian reviewers, Bizet wrote songs and operas of astonishing beauty, even if the plots and libretti didn't always match the composer's dramatic sense.

Donald Macleod recounts Bizet's humble origins as the son of a hairdresser and self-appointed singing teacher. Entering the Paris Conservatoire, he made rapid progress under Charles Gounod, writing a delightful symphony, and competing for the prestigious Prix de Rome, with the chance to travel to the Eternal City and enjoy the sights and sounds of Italy.

Horowitz
Variations on a Theme from Bizet's opera 'Carmen'
Vladimir Horowitz, piano

Bizet
Symphony in C
Orchestre de Paris
Paavo Järvi, conductor

Le Docteur Miracle (Scene 7, Quartet)
Marie-Bénédicte soprano (Souquet), Laurette Isabelle Druet mezzo (Veronique), Jérôme Billy baritone (Pasquin) and Pierre-Yves Pruvot baritone (Le Padestat)
Orchestre Lyrique de Region Avignon Provence
Samuel Jean, conductor

Clovis et Clotilde
Scene 3 - Prière
Katarina Jovanovic soprano (Clotilde)
Choeur Regional Nord-Pas-de-Calais
Jean-Claude Casadesus, conductor.

02Bizet In Rome20120313

Donald Macleod follows the young Bizet to Rome after his prize at the Paris Conservatoire.

Donald Macleod focuses on the life and work of Georges Bizet. In today's programme we follow the young Bizet to Rome after he won the big prize at the Paris Conservatoire. Once there, Bizet set about shrugging off the influence of his mentor, Charles Gounod, as well as the strict rules imposed by the Prix de Rome. Bizet's years in Italy were fruitful and we'll hear some of the many works he began there, as well as more from his most famous opera Carmen, with a twist.

02Bizet In Rome20120313

Donald Macleod follows the young Bizet to Rome after his prize at the Paris Conservatoire.

Donald Macleod focuses on the life and work of Georges Bizet. In today's programme we follow the young Bizet to Rome after he won the big prize at the Paris Conservatoire. Once there, Bizet set about shrugging off the influence of his mentor, Charles Gounod, as well as the strict rules imposed by the Prix de Rome. Bizet's years in Italy were fruitful and we'll hear some of the many works he began there, as well as more from his most famous opera Carmen, with a twist.

02The Rome Years20170613

Donald Macleod focuses on Bizet's experiencing the sights, sounds and smells of Rome.

To enter the prestigious Prix de Rome was no mean undertaking, and Bizet did it twice, succeeding on his second attempt.

A man of multiple love affairs who became devoted to his neurotic wife; a superb pianist who studiously avoided the concert stage; a man for ever associated with Spain, even though he'd never been there - George Bizet is a mass of contradictions. As well as composing what is arguably the world's best known and most popular opera - Carmen - Bizet also composed some spectacular flops. Always seeking popular as well as critical success, that was the very thing that eluded him during his lifetime. And yet, despite the caustic discouragement of Parisian reviewers, Bizet wrote songs and operas of astonishing beauty, even if the plots and libretti didn't always match the composer's dramatic sense.

In today's episode George Bizet experiences the sights, sounds and indeed smells of Rome, living in the Villa Medici alongside artists, poets and sculptors. The only condition for this student grant was that he would send back to Paris a composition to prove his diligence in pursuit of his art. Not that Bizet would forego all worldly pleasures in the single-minded pursuit of that endeavour.

Ronde turque (3 Esquisses musicales)
Per Setrak, piano

Tu rex gloriae, Christe (Te Deum)
Katarina Jovanovic, soprano
Philippe Do, tenor
Choeur Regional Nord/Pas-de-Calais
Orchestre National de Lille
Jean-Claude Casadesus, conductor

Don Procopio, Act 2 (excerpt)
Mady Mesplé, soprano (Donna Bettina)
Alain Vanzo, tenor (Don Odoardo)
Jules Bastin, bass (Don Procopio)
Choeur et Orchestre Lyrique
Bruno Amaducci, conductor

Roma: Suite for Orchestra
Orchestre de Paris
Paavo Järvi, conductor.

02The Rome Years20170613

Donald Macleod focuses on Bizet's experiencing the sights, sounds and smells of Rome.

To enter the prestigious Prix de Rome was no mean undertaking, and Bizet did it twice, succeeding on his second attempt.

A man of multiple love affairs who became devoted to his neurotic wife; a superb pianist who studiously avoided the concert stage; a man for ever associated with Spain, even though he'd never been there - George Bizet is a mass of contradictions. As well as composing what is arguably the world's best known and most popular opera - Carmen - Bizet also composed some spectacular flops. Always seeking popular as well as critical success, that was the very thing that eluded him during his lifetime. And yet, despite the caustic discouragement of Parisian reviewers, Bizet wrote songs and operas of astonishing beauty, even if the plots and libretti didn't always match the composer's dramatic sense.

In today's episode George Bizet experiences the sights, sounds and indeed smells of Rome, living in the Villa Medici alongside artists, poets and sculptors. The only condition for this student grant was that he would send back to Paris a composition to prove his diligence in pursuit of his art. Not that Bizet would forego all worldly pleasures in the single-minded pursuit of that endeavour.

Ronde turque (3 Esquisses musicales)
Per Setrak, piano

Tu rex gloriae, Christe (Te Deum)
Katarina Jovanovic, soprano
Philippe Do, tenor
Choeur Regional Nord/Pas-de-Calais
Orchestre National de Lille
Jean-Claude Casadesus, conductor

Don Procopio, Act 2 (excerpt)
Mady Mesplé, soprano (Donna Bettina)
Alain Vanzo, tenor (Don Odoardo)
Jules Bastin, bass (Don Procopio)
Choeur et Orchestre Lyrique
Bruno Amaducci, conductor

Roma: Suite for Orchestra
Orchestre de Paris
Paavo Järvi, conductor.

03Back To Paris20120314

Donald Macleod focuses on the years after Bizet's return from Rome.

Donald Macleod continues his exploration of the life and work of Georges Bizet. The years after Bizet's return from Rome are characterised by false starts and an anxious self-doubt. He abandoned many grand projects and those stage works he completed met with a decidedly lukewarm reception. In this programme we'll hear from three of Bizet's operas on the way to Carmen - La Jolie Fille de Perth, Djamileh and The Pearl Fishers - as well as a version of Carmen unlike any other.

Producer Martin Williams.

03Back To Paris20120314

Donald Macleod focuses on the years after Bizet's return from Rome.

Donald Macleod continues his exploration of the life and work of Georges Bizet. The years after Bizet's return from Rome are characterised by false starts and an anxious self-doubt. He abandoned many grand projects and those stage works he completed met with a decidedly lukewarm reception. In this programme we'll hear from three of Bizet's operas on the way to Carmen - La Jolie Fille de Perth, Djamileh and The Pearl Fishers - as well as a version of Carmen unlike any other.

Producer Martin Williams.

03Pearl Fishing In Paris20170614

Donald Macleod on Bizet's having to return to Paris and make his own way in the world.

After the prize of staying in Rome with a full student grant, Bizet must return to Paris and make his own way in the world.

A man of multiple love affairs who became devoted to his neurotic wife; a superb pianist who studiously avoided the concert stage; a man for ever associated with Spain, even though he'd never been there - George Bizet is a mass of contradictions. As well as composing what is arguably the world's best known and most popular opera - Carmen - Bizet also composed some spectacular flops. Always seeking popular as well as critical success, that was the very thing that eluded him during his lifetime. And yet, despite the caustic discouragement of Parisian reviewers, Bizet wrote songs and operas of astonishing beauty, even if the plots and libretti didn't always match the composer's dramatic sense.

In today's episode, Bizet returns from Italy to rush to his mother's sickbed. He comforts her, and he in turn is comforted by his mother's nurse - by whom he fathers a son. Despite his prodigious gifts as a pianist (praised by no less a genius than Franz Liszt) Bizet studiously avoids the concert platform, instead eking out a living through proof-reading, writing humdrum piano transcriptions and teaching piano. He will also write The Pearl Fishers.

Nocturne in F major
Julia Severus, piano

La marguerite a fermé sa corolle (from Vasco da Gama)
Joan Sutherland, soprano
Swiss Romande Orchestra
Richard Bonynge, conductor

Les Pêcheurs de Perles (Act 2, excerpt)
Pierrette Alarie, soprano (Léïla)
Leopold Simoneau, tenor (Nadir)
Orchestre des Concerts Lamoureux
Jean Fournet, conductor

Ivan IV, Act 2 (excerpt)
Paul Gay, bass (Temryuk),
Julian Gavi, tenor (Igor)
Orchestre National de France
Michael Schonwandt, conductor

Venise
Julia Severus, piano.

03Pearl Fishing In Paris20170614

Donald Macleod on Bizet's having to return to Paris and make his own way in the world.

After the prize of staying in Rome with a full student grant, Bizet must return to Paris and make his own way in the world.

A man of multiple love affairs who became devoted to his neurotic wife; a superb pianist who studiously avoided the concert stage; a man for ever associated with Spain, even though he'd never been there - George Bizet is a mass of contradictions. As well as composing what is arguably the world's best known and most popular opera - Carmen - Bizet also composed some spectacular flops. Always seeking popular as well as critical success, that was the very thing that eluded him during his lifetime. And yet, despite the caustic discouragement of Parisian reviewers, Bizet wrote songs and operas of astonishing beauty, even if the plots and libretti didn't always match the composer's dramatic sense.

In today's episode, Bizet returns from Italy to rush to his mother's sickbed. He comforts her, and he in turn is comforted by his mother's nurse - by whom he fathers a son. Despite his prodigious gifts as a pianist (praised by no less a genius than Franz Liszt) Bizet studiously avoids the concert platform, instead eking out a living through proof-reading, writing humdrum piano transcriptions and teaching piano. He will also write The Pearl Fishers.

Nocturne in F major
Julia Severus, piano

La marguerite a fermé sa corolle (from Vasco da Gama)
Joan Sutherland, soprano
Swiss Romande Orchestra
Richard Bonynge, conductor

Les Pêcheurs de Perles (Act 2, excerpt)
Pierrette Alarie, soprano (Léïla)
Leopold Simoneau, tenor (Nadir)
Orchestre des Concerts Lamoureux
Jean Fournet, conductor

Ivan IV, Act 2 (excerpt)
Paul Gay, bass (Temryuk),
Julian Gavi, tenor (Igor)
Orchestre National de France
Michael Schonwandt, conductor

Venise
Julia Severus, piano.

Donald Macleod on Bizet's having to return to Paris and make his own way in the world.

After the prize of staying in Rome with a full student grant, Bizet must return to Paris and make his own way in the world.

A man of multiple love affairs who became devoted to his neurotic wife; a superb pianist who studiously avoided the concert stage; a man for ever associated with Spain, even though he'd never been there - George Bizet is a mass of contradictions. As well as composing what is arguably the world's best known and most popular opera - Carmen - Bizet also composed some spectacular flops. Always seeking popular as well as critical success, that was the very thing that eluded him during his lifetime. And yet, despite the caustic discouragement of Parisian reviewers, Bizet wrote songs and operas of astonishing beauty, even if the plots and libretti didn't always match the composer's dramatic sense.

In today's episode, Bizet returns from Italy to rush to his mother's sickbed. He comforts her, and he in turn is comforted by his mother's nurse - by whom he fathers a son. Despite his prodigious gifts as a pianist (praised by no less a genius than Franz Liszt) Bizet studiously avoids the concert platform, instead eking out a living through proof-reading, writing humdrum piano transcriptions and teaching piano. He will also write The Pearl Fishers.

Nocturne in F major
Julia Severus, piano

La marguerite a fermé sa corolle (from Vasco da Gama)
Joan Sutherland, soprano
Swiss Romande Orchestra
Richard Bonynge, conductor

Les Pêcheurs de Perles (Act 2, excerpt)
Pierrette Alarie, soprano (Léïla)
Leopold Simoneau, tenor (Nadir)
Orchestre des Concerts Lamoureux
Jean Fournet, conductor

Ivan IV, Act 2 (excerpt)
Paul Gay, bass (Temryuk),
Julian Gavi, tenor (Igor)
Orchestre National de France
Michael Schonwandt, conductor

Venise
Julia Severus, piano.

04Devotion To The Dramatic20120315

Donald Macleod on Bizet's later life, when he remained committed to writing for the stage.

Donald Macleod continues his look at the life and work of Georges Bizet. The composer suffered from ill health all his life - a condition not helped by a string of critical failures. It propelled Bizet to search for some philosophy or faith which would sustain him. And he seemed to find it, writing to a friend: "an extraordinary change is taking place in me. I am changing my skin, both as an artist and as a man." Despite these changes, Bizet remained steadfast in his commitment to writing for the stage throughout his life. In this programme we hear a Russian take on Carmen and we meet the beguiling girl from Arles, L'Arlesienne.

04Devotion To The Dramatic20120315

Donald Macleod on Bizet's later life, when he remained committed to writing for the stage.

Donald Macleod continues his look at the life and work of Georges Bizet. The composer suffered from ill health all his life - a condition not helped by a string of critical failures. It propelled Bizet to search for some philosophy or faith which would sustain him. And he seemed to find it, writing to a friend: "an extraordinary change is taking place in me. I am changing my skin, both as an artist and as a man." Despite these changes, Bizet remained steadfast in his commitment to writing for the stage throughout his life. In this programme we hear a Russian take on Carmen and we meet the beguiling girl from Arles, L'Arlesienne.

04Marriage And Mistresses20170615

How Bizet resolved to marry his teacher's daughter, despite his many affairs and setbacks.

Despite painful critical notices, and despite a reputation for sexual impropriety, Bizet resolves to settle down and marry his teacher's daughter.

A man of multiple love affairs who became devoted to his neurotic wife; a superb pianist who studiously avoided the concert stage; a man for ever associated with Spain, even though he'd never been there - George Bizet is a mass of contradictions. As well as composing what is arguably the world's best known and most popular opera - Carmen - Bizet also composed some spectacular flops. Always seeking popular as well as critical success, that was the very thing that eluded him during his lifetime. And yet, despite the caustic discouragement of Parisian reviewers, Bizet wrote songs and operas of astonishing beauty, even if the plots and libretti didn't always match the composer's dramatic sense.

Donald Macleod recounts Bizet's struggles to make a living as a successful operatic composer, who agrees to set a novel he actively detests: Sir Walter Scott's Fair Maid of Perth - complete with improbable mad scenes, a gypsy and songs in praise of the Scottish winter! Despite his various mistresses, the composer resolves to settle down and marry the girl of his dreams, Geneviève Halévy, the daughter of his esteemed teacher. The only problem is, how settled will his life be with a young woman who's distinctly unhinged after her own mother blames her for the death of her sister?

Adieu de l'hôtesse arabe
Cecilia Bartoli, soprano
Myung-Whun Chung, piano

La Jolie Fille de Perth (Act 1, excerpt)
June Anderson, soprano
Margarita Zimmermann, mezzo (Catherine Glover)
Alfredo Kraus, tenor (Henry Smith)
Gino Quilico, baritone (Le Duc de Rothsay)
Gabriel Bacquier bass ( Simon Glover)
José van Dam, bass (Ralph)
Nouvel Orchestre Philharmonique
Georges Prêtre, conductor

Le Grillon; Guitare; Ma vie a son secret
Ann Murray, mezzo-soprano
Graham Johnson, piano

Jeux d'enfants (excerpts)
1. L'Escarpolette
2. La Toupie
3. La Poupée
4. Les Cheveux de bois
12. Le Bal
Mona & Rica Bard, piano duet.

How Bizet resolved to marry his teacher's daughter, despite his many affairs and setbacks.

Despite painful critical notices, and despite a reputation for sexual impropriety, Bizet resolves to settle down and marry his teacher's daughter.

A man of multiple love affairs who became devoted to his neurotic wife; a superb pianist who studiously avoided the concert stage; a man for ever associated with Spain, even though he'd never been there - George Bizet is a mass of contradictions. As well as composing what is arguably the world's best known and most popular opera - Carmen - Bizet also composed some spectacular flops. Always seeking popular as well as critical success, that was the very thing that eluded him during his lifetime. And yet, despite the caustic discouragement of Parisian reviewers, Bizet wrote songs and operas of astonishing beauty, even if the plots and libretti didn't always match the composer's dramatic sense.

Donald Macleod recounts Bizet's struggles to make a living as a successful operatic composer, who agrees to set a novel he actively detests: Sir Walter Scott's Fair Maid of Perth - complete with improbable mad scenes, a gypsy and songs in praise of the Scottish winter! Despite his various mistresses, the composer resolves to settle down and marry the girl of his dreams, Geneviève Halévy, the daughter of his esteemed teacher. The only problem is, how settled will his life be with a young woman who's distinctly unhinged after her own mother blames her for the death of her sister?

Adieu de l'hôtesse arabe
Cecilia Bartoli, soprano
Myung-Whun Chung, piano

La Jolie Fille de Perth (Act 1, excerpt)
June Anderson, soprano
Margarita Zimmermann, mezzo (Catherine Glover)
Alfredo Kraus, tenor (Henry Smith)
Gino Quilico, baritone (Le Duc de Rothsay)
Gabriel Bacquier bass ( Simon Glover)
José van Dam, bass (Ralph)
Nouvel Orchestre Philharmonique
Georges Prêtre, conductor

Le Grillon; Guitare; Ma vie a son secret
Ann Murray, mezzo-soprano
Graham Johnson, piano

Jeux d'enfants (excerpts)
1. L'Escarpolette
2. La Toupie
3. La Poupée
4. Les Cheveux de bois
12. Le Bal
Mona and Rica Bard, piano duet.

04Marriage And Mistresses20170615

How Bizet resolved to marry his teacher's daughter, despite his many affairs and setbacks.

Despite painful critical notices, and despite a reputation for sexual impropriety, Bizet resolves to settle down and marry his teacher's daughter.

A man of multiple love affairs who became devoted to his neurotic wife; a superb pianist who studiously avoided the concert stage; a man for ever associated with Spain, even though he'd never been there - George Bizet is a mass of contradictions. As well as composing what is arguably the world's best known and most popular opera - Carmen - Bizet also composed some spectacular flops. Always seeking popular as well as critical success, that was the very thing that eluded him during his lifetime. And yet, despite the caustic discouragement of Parisian reviewers, Bizet wrote songs and operas of astonishing beauty, even if the plots and libretti didn't always match the composer's dramatic sense.

Donald Macleod recounts Bizet's struggles to make a living as a successful operatic composer, who agrees to set a novel he actively detests: Sir Walter Scott's Fair Maid of Perth - complete with improbable mad scenes, a gypsy and songs in praise of the Scottish winter! Despite his various mistresses, the composer resolves to settle down and marry the girl of his dreams, Geneviève Halévy, the daughter of his esteemed teacher. The only problem is, how settled will his life be with a young woman who's distinctly unhinged after her own mother blames her for the death of her sister?

Adieu de l'hôtesse arabe
Cecilia Bartoli, soprano
Myung-Whun Chung, piano

La Jolie Fille de Perth (Act 1, excerpt)
June Anderson, soprano
Margarita Zimmermann, mezzo (Catherine Glover)
Alfredo Kraus, tenor (Henry Smith)
Gino Quilico, baritone (Le Duc de Rothsay)
Gabriel Bacquier bass ( Simon Glover)
José van Dam, bass (Ralph)
Nouvel Orchestre Philharmonique
Georges Prêtre, conductor

Le Grillon; Guitare; Ma vie a son secret
Ann Murray, mezzo-soprano
Graham Johnson, piano

Jeux d'enfants (excerpts)
1. L'Escarpolette
2. La Toupie
3. La Poupée
4. Les Cheveux de bois
12. Le Bal
Mona and Rica Bard, piano duet.

05The Final Act20170616

Donald Macleod focuses on how Bizet brought his masterpiece Carmen to the stage.

The choice of libretto was his, as was the choice of singer. So what could possibly go wrong with the first night of Carmen? Donald Macleod concludes his account of the life and work of George Bizet.

A man of multiple love affairs who became devoted to his neurotic wife; a superb pianist who studiously avoided the concert stage; a man for ever associated with Spain, even though he'd never been there - George Bizet is a mass of contradictions. As well as composing what is arguably the world's best known and most popular opera - Carmen - Bizet also composed some spectacular flops. Always seeking popular as well as critical success, that was the very thing that eluded him during his lifetime. And yet, despite the caustic discouragement of Parisian reviewers, Bizet wrote songs and operas of astonishing beauty, even if the plots and libretti didn't always match the composer's dramatic sense.

In today's concluding episode, we find Bizet exploring an exotic eastern setting with his opera Djamileh and experiencing the joys of parenthood, as his wife gives birth to a son. Despite setbacks at the theatre, he enjoys a rare taste of success as the music to the melodrama L'Arlésienne starts to enjoy an independent existence away from the theatre. And finally, making the bold choice of the novella Carmen for a theme, Bizet strives to bring his final masterpiece to the stage.

Overture (Djamileh)
Münchner Rundfunkorchester
Lamberto Gardelli, conductor

'Nour Eddin, roi de Lahore', from Djamileh
Huguette Tourangeau, soprano
Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
Richard Bonynge, conductor

L'Arlésienne Suite (ed. Hogwood)
Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
Christopher Hogwood, conductor

Tarantelle
Cecilia Bartoli, soprano
Myung Whun Chung, piano

Carmen (Act 4)
Marina Domashenko, soprano (Carmen)
Andrea Bocelli, tenor (Don José)
Bryn Terfel, bass-baritone (Escamillo)
Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France
Myung Whun Chung, conductor.

05The Final Act20170616

Donald Macleod focuses on how Bizet brought his masterpiece Carmen to the stage.

The choice of libretto was his, as was the choice of singer. So what could possibly go wrong with the first night of Carmen? Donald Macleod concludes his account of the life and work of George Bizet.

A man of multiple love affairs who became devoted to his neurotic wife; a superb pianist who studiously avoided the concert stage; a man for ever associated with Spain, even though he'd never been there - George Bizet is a mass of contradictions. As well as composing what is arguably the world's best known and most popular opera - Carmen - Bizet also composed some spectacular flops. Always seeking popular as well as critical success, that was the very thing that eluded him during his lifetime. And yet, despite the caustic discouragement of Parisian reviewers, Bizet wrote songs and operas of astonishing beauty, even if the plots and libretti didn't always match the composer's dramatic sense.

In today's concluding episode, we find Bizet exploring an exotic eastern setting with his opera Djamileh and experiencing the joys of parenthood, as his wife gives birth to a son. Despite setbacks at the theatre, he enjoys a rare taste of success as the music to the melodrama L'Arlésienne starts to enjoy an independent existence away from the theatre. And finally, making the bold choice of the novella Carmen for a theme, Bizet strives to bring his final masterpiece to the stage.

Overture (Djamileh)
Münchner Rundfunkorchester
Lamberto Gardelli, conductor

'Nour Eddin, roi de Lahore', from Djamileh
Huguette Tourangeau, soprano
Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
Richard Bonynge, conductor

L'Arlésienne Suite (ed. Hogwood)
Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
Christopher Hogwood, conductor

Tarantelle
Cecilia Bartoli, soprano
Myung Whun Chung, piano

Carmen (Act 4)
Marina Domashenko, soprano (Carmen)
Andrea Bocelli, tenor (Don José)
Bryn Terfel, bass-baritone (Escamillo)
Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France
Myung Whun Chung, conductor.

05 LASTCarmen - Tragedy And Then Triumph20120316

Donald Macleod tells the story of Bizet's final months.

On the 3rd of March 1875 Bizet was invested with the ribbon of a knight of Legion of Honour, France's highest cultural distinction. The date was not insignificant: that very evening, his new opera Carmen would have its premiere at the Opera-Comique. The Parisian press would go on to savage Carmen, and within weeks the composer was dead. Donald Macleod tells the story of Bizet's final months.

05 LASTCarmen - Tragedy And Then Triumph20120316

Donald Macleod tells the story of Bizet's final months.

On the 3rd of March 1875 Bizet was invested with the ribbon of a knight of Legion of Honour, France's highest cultural distinction. The date was not insignificant: that very evening, his new opera Carmen would have its premiere at the Opera-Comique. The Parisian press would go on to savage Carmen, and within weeks the composer was dead. Donald Macleod tells the story of Bizet's final months.